Energy efficiency in your new home
The topic of energy efficiency doesn’t get discussed as much as it should, which is disappointing in many ways. On a personal level, having your new home set up to reduce energy waste makes for a more comfortable abode while saving you money in the long run. On a global scale, taking measures to improve energy efficiency helps combat climate change and global warming. By clamping down on power consumption, you help limit the greenhouse effect that raises carbon dioxide levels and leads to extreme weather conditions.
So to help yourself and the planet, how do you get started changing your new home?
A whole building system for energy efficiency
If you’re house-hunting or planning to construct one from the ground up, it’s best to look at your entire compound as a system of parts, working together towards achieving a common objective. In this case, that goal is having a more environmentally-friendly house.
Your house is going to be designed in such a way that it’s comfortable, durable, healthy, and safe, all while cutting down utility and maintenance costs. This gives architects and contractors a proper sense of how every element in your abode is to be made.
Insulation and sealing
Insulation is perhaps the most effective energy efficiency method you can implement, creating a cooler house in the summer and a warmer one during the winter. There are several aspects to insulation and sealing that homeowners can look into these days.
- Thermal mass materials
- In short, these materials can store and absorb heat. They stabilise temperatures within a house. In winter, for instance, an insulated wall absorbs the sun’s heat and stores it during the day, and at night, this heat is transferred throughout the walls of your home to provide higher temperatures. Some examples of thermal mass materials are concrete and brick.
- Properly seal your doors and windows to prevent draughts from coming in, as this issue is responsible for up to 25% of household heat loss.
- Having light coloured-blinds for windows will help reflect heat and light during the summer, reducing your need for air conditioning.
House and room orientation
The initial stages of construction are vital in ensuring you get the optimal amounts of solar power and heat. For example, the angle of the roof itself will determine the effectiveness of potential solar panels, should you integrate them into your house to further bolster energy efficiency.
Next, the locations of rooms and their window placings will influence the amount of sunlight and heat they receive. The main living spaces in your home should be set up so that they receive the most amount of sunlight throughout the day. Similarly, kitchens and bedrooms ought to be situated in locations where they receive more sunlight in the morning and less as the day progresses.
For a more detailed reading of house and room orientation, the guide from the government on environmentally sustainable homes is a great read.
Lighting can take up to 15% of a house’s electricity costs, so having a proper collection of lighting setups can save you money in the long run. Invest in timers, automatic lights and dimmers to cut down on costs. Most importantly, pay attention to light-emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and halogen incandescent bulbs as your primary choices.
- LEDs – They are 90% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs and last 50 times longer. This more than justifies their high price point.
- CFLs – These take a minute to achieve their optimal brightness, but are much better than traditional incandescents.
- Halogen incandescents – These are the cheapest options available, but they’re not as efficient or long-lasting.
Similar to lighting, water heating can also take up a sizeable portion of your electricity costs, so having an environmentally-friendly system is highly beneficial.
At Earthsave, we offer roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar water systems, helping you handle this portion of your whole building system.
Appliances and electronics
You’ll need a fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, and so many other appliances and electronic devices to complete your residence. When you purchase these requirements, make sure to check its energy rating to ensure it saves electricity, money, and the environment.
Your greener home
As a soon-to-be homeowner, you can take several steps to improve your residence’s energy efficiency. Starting early on a plan with the entire construction team on board is always the safest bet, and you could have a true powerhouse that saves money and the world.